Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Trusting God for the Consequences of Obedience

I hate admitting when I'm wrong.

Unless you're Rip Van Winkle, you're aware of the debates we've been having over immigration in the US in the last few years. The arguments have become vicious. Mostly they're over illegal immigration, but the effects have spilled over onto legal immigration as well. In the midst of this we have a number of humanitarian crises in the Middle East and in Latin America. People's homes have become unsafe, and they say they need somewhere to go — now!

And politically conservative evangelicals (not a completely redundant phrase) find themselves torn between two impulses.

On the one hand, care for the helpless — the widow and orphan, the alien, the refugee, "the least of these" — is frequently and strongly commanded in the Bible. God says again and again that he will judge people (and peoples) based on how they treat the weakest among them.

On the other hand, not only will helping these people be expensive for a nation that feels stretched too thin, this seems like it's just playing into the other (political) side's hands: namely, that these people will help tip American politics to the left for years to come (because the left seems to want to make all illegal immigrants citizens). The result of helping these people now may be to give up any chance of stopping the mass slaughter of unborn children for generations.

What do you do when you feel like you have to choose between obedience and ... obedience?

The first thing to do is recognize the difference between absolute facts and potentialities.

Fact: Refugees.

Potentiality: Maybe conservatives will eventually be able to put the right people on the courts to overturn Roe. Maybe every illegal alien granted citizenship will vote Democrat. Maybe that would let them keep stocking the courts with pro-abortion ideologues.
That's a lot of maybes.

Second, those maybes need to be met with one very important question: Do you believe in the providence of God?

That's the question that has slapped me in the face. I've joked that I believe in the providence of God until I'm stuck in traffic. Well, it's really not a joke. It's pretty true. I say I believe in the providence, even sovereignty, of God, but when push comes to shove, does my life look like it? Or do I let the illusion that I can control anything beyond my own decisions direct my actions?

So I will try to take to heart the message of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego: Just obey, and trust God is in charge of the consequences.

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